I scratched out a design in frozen ground
how I envisioned the machine might work.
In fleeting moments I considered bound
to empirical laws the bright expound
while looking down from learned, lofty perch.
So simple though it seemed to me to be,
then growing greater in pugnacious detail.
The icy etching spawned complexity;
that I no more scrawled with branch of fallen tree,
but clawed each figure out with broken nail.
It might have been the keening winter wind
that lured me from my hearth and cup of spiced.
For cutting cold did flay upon my skin
as I wandered out of doors from warmth within;
bewitched by crystal song thread through the night.
Down hidden paths not seen on summer days,
nor revealed like flowers by spring’s thaw.
These frozen and malignly treacherous ways
seen not but under rare winter moon’s gaze;
on did I stumble, goaded by frigid, exotic draw.
Would that the cold had snapped me back to sense,
I could retreat fireside and bar the door.
To steel my soul with prayer and rum against,
that which ensorcelled me down paths of forest dense;
unfit for human memory and eldest written lore.
Unto that barren patch of blasted heath
I shambled, bruised and bleeding, numb to thought.
Eyes stricken with the sight of what beneath
forsaken heavens dying must bequeath
to men who have with madness cast their lot.
Such sickly light my eyes had never known
then that which leached into that hidden vale
From obelisk of carven, ancient stone;
thrust up through purest snow like shattered bone
toward a gibbous moon lit wan and pale.
Afflicted by that which no known cure for exists
I knelt before the towering monument.
In thrall to darkest magic’s hold transfixed
to gaze upon its surface marked with glyphs;
that whispered song to which my mind was bent.
On rhythms that strange chanting soon became,
an alien tongue I know not how I knew.
From this relic torturous knowledge gained,
of eldritch horrors long since lost to name;
imprisoned in the Earth when it was new.
Before my eyes enrapt by profane wonder,
these glowing sigils on the rock aligned
and I beheld not words, but primal numbers.
Then, like a key engaging each right tumbler,
revealed machinations of insidious design.
Aghast at such maleficent scheming,
my own will, too tenacious to relent,
startled me like waking from deep dreaming ,
to find myself bloodied, cold and screaming,
as I perceived the horrible intent.
With my faith in the rational forsaken,
I, through eyes now glazing with the frost;
watched bleeding fingers claw this aberration
schematic gouged in frozen ground to hasten
the spans of space and time that must be crossed,
by some foul doorway breached by this machine.
I recognized the shrewd perversity.
To entrap one whose life’s study had been
of sciences held in highest esteem,
at Miskatonic University.
Over the wind, I heard some distant sound,
familiar to painful, frost bitten ears.
The echoing call of searching men with hounds
And from my place upon the snowy ground
At last was overcome with cold and fear.
For I knew when they found me, dead or living,
They would uncover that foul diagram
and human nature rife with its misgivings
would require decoding such mad scrivening
and in their doing so doom the race of man.
Warmed with hypothermia’s slow embrace
My will to fight this madness did succumb.
I felt an icy smile set on my face,
for I would not be present in this place
on that fell day when the Great Old Ones come.
From cities long forgotten beneath the waves,
And darkest depths of space beyond the stars;
those who have slept through eons in their graves;
forever dreaming of all worlds enslaved,
rule that the first world conquered shall be ours.
With my last glimpse of this world I see them,
shapeless forms of evil beyond words.
Beings whose existence beggars reason.
Somehow I know they know I have freed them,
and on the wind my last breaths could be heard.
“Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn”
HG – 2015